CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs has proclaimed the week of April 11-17, 2021, National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in the City of Cullman. Each year, the second full week in April is dedicated to those men and women who serve as our first and most critical contact with emergency services.
“Our public safety telecommunicators work hard to ensure that police, fire and emergency medical personnel are able to quickly and safely respond to calls for help,” said Mayor Jacobs. “Our emergency responders rely on them in order to do their jobs quickly and safety, and our citizens rely on them to send the help they need in times of distress.”
Across the United States, the first access point for those seeking all classes of emergency services is 911. The Cullman County E-9-1-1 Emergency Service System was adopted over 30 years ago, with the first 911 call being taken in June 1991. The public safety telecommunicators who receive these 911 calls are the first and single point of contact for persons seeking immediate relief during an emergency situation. They are highly trained and very skilled in multi-tasking. They must operate multiple radio systems while obtaining pertinent information from callers and relaying that information to police, fire and medical responders. The men and women who work as public safety telecommunicators understand that seconds save lives and that time lost in the dispatching process cannot be made up by emergency responders.
However, public safety telecommunicators now face many new challenges. For example, today over 90% of 911 calls are from cellular devices rather than landline phones. Unlike landline calls, calls placed from cell phones do not automatically give public safety telecommunicators the actual address a call is being placed from, which is the most important information needed in order to send help. Locally, Cullman’s steady increases in population and tourism have resulted in a much higher call volume and a greater demand for resources than in the past.
“In order to handle increased call volume, a fourth dispatching console was recently added and new radio equipment was purchased with the assistance of a grant approved by the Cullman County 911 Board,” said Cullman Fire Rescue’s Jeff Shelton, who supervises the City of Cullman’s emergency dispatch office. “The new equipment also has enhanced capabilities to provide effective backup locations for other dispatch centers.”
Mayor Jacobs thanked the Cullman County E-9-1-1 Board for pursuing the grant that made the purchase of this new equipment possible. Mayor also thanked Jeff Shelton and Cullman Fire Rescue for making sure that the City of Cullman’s public safety telecommunicators have the equipment and support necessary to continue to provide excellent emergency dispatching services.
“I appreciate all of the people who perform this vital service in our community,” said Mayor Jacobs. “It’s not an easy job. It is often stressful and very complex. But our public safety telecommunicators are invaluable to us all, and that’s why I’m proud to issue this proclamation to honor them for the great job they so.”
To find out more about National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, visit www.npstw.org.